on December 30, 2012
Prior to purchasing this set, I had only seen bits of this show many years ago. However, I am a big James Garner fan, so there wasn't much hesitation to order it. I am very glad I did. The first season is extremely entertaining, an excellent blend of drama and comedy. I admit that I didn't enjoy the early episodes with Jack Kelly as much , but that is not a knock on Kelly as much as it is my appreciation for Garner. Believe me, Kelly's Bart Maverick will endear himself to you long before you reach the end of the the first season.
I normally purchase the complete series of a show rather than individual seasons, but when Season 2 of Maverick is released, I will order it promptly. I just had so much fun watching it the first time over the summer. I started rewatching the series last week, and it is just as much fun the second time.
Money spent on this series is money well spent.
The 'Boot Hill Soliloquy's' that introduced each episode of Gunsmoke for the first few seasons seem ridiculous and somewhat scary by the time you've gone through all twenty seasons and 650 episodes, and started the series over again (which is a scary thought itself). Marshall Dillon literally kills more 'bad guys' than Dodge City has people, making Boot Hill -- the place where dead bank robbers and cattle rustlers and gunfighters are buried -- a Necropolis that matches the town below, a dark mirror.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, both Brett and Bart, have very few notches on their guns. Maybe the best show of its time, and one of the best series in TV history, 'Maverick' featured incredibly clever writing and great acting. James Garner is in his prime, playing the slick gambler and original title character. His performances throughout the first three seasons are dead-on, and the character truly was unlike anything the public had seen before. Brett was no gunman, but he could shoot if he had to, and fight as well. But for the most part, he relied on his mind, his imagination, and his charm to extricate himself from dangerous situations. His brother, Bart, played by Jack Kelly, was introduced early in season 1, since the demanding production schedule required that two episodes be filmed simultaneously. Despite being a bit hokey, forgoing the dry, low key wit of Garner for an interesting mix of Jimmy Stewart and Jerry Lewis, Kelly would've been a great solo star. But he came a distant second to Garner, and it took a while for audiences to warm to him. Some of the best episodes featured both brothers, like the classic 'Shady Deal at Sunny Acres' -- which was also the 'inspiration' for the plot of the popular film 'The Sting'. Eventually, Kelly owned the role, and would go on to lead the series for seasons 4 and 5 after Garner quit, sharing episodes with new number 2, Roger Moore.
There aren't too many shows I can say this about, but every episode of seasons 1, 2, and 3 are great, thoroughly enjoyable. There's even a couple dead-on parody episodes, one of 'Gunsmoke', and one of 'Bonanza'. Maverick doesn't have Gunsmoke's mountain of bullet-riddled corpses; Bonanza saw Little Joe, Hoss, or Adam, arrested for crimes they didn't commit almost every third episode, and Little Joe racks up a pretty ludicrous body-count of his own; even Maverick has it's faults... if you pay attention to how many times Brett and Bart are knocked unconscious by a blow to the back of the head, you'll discover it's dozens of times. They should both be brain-dead drooling wrecks by the end of season 3. But who cares? Maverick is usually half-way to parody, so realism or continuity are irrelevant. Season 1 hits the ground running, but there are a couple rough patches in the first three or four episodes. They're still entertaining, however, and by episode 5 or 6, things are running with a machine-like precision: the writing, directing and acting working together perfectly.
on September 16, 2015
Very much a western of the mid-fifties. Some pretty corny and ill thought out plots. Even if you're a James Garner fan, as I am, you'll probably be somewhat disappointed with some of the episodes. That said, it's light entertainment and worth a watch if you're not too choosy and want to unwind and relax a bit. BLACK AND WHITE.